San Diego Wet Reckless Attorneys
Wet reckless is not a charge for which a person can be arrested. Instead, it may be used as a plea when someone has been arrested for drunk driving but his blood alcohol content was at or near the legal amount of 0.08% in California. If the prosecution does not have enough evidence to win a drunk driving conviction, they may offer a plea of wet reckless. The reckless in the plea refers to reckless or careless driving, while the wet implies that alcohol or drugs were involved.
While most people arrested for drunk driving in San Diego will happily take a wet reckless charge instead, there are pros and cons of doing so. Speak to an experienced San Diego criminal defense lawyer to see how they apply to your specific situation. Call the team at jD LAW at (760) 630-2000 for a free consultation today.
There are many advantages of taking a wet reckless plea. The first and perhaps most obvious is that reckless driving carries a maximum jail sentence of only 90 days. This is considerably shorter than the six months to one year that a person will face if convicted of drunk driving. And, while people with previous drunk driving convictions on their record will face more jail time with each new offense, this is not the case with reckless driving.
Just as there are shorter jail sentences for those who accept a wet reckless plea, there are also shorter probation times. While a DUI can carry three to five years of probation, a wet reckless plea will typically carry one to two years of probation.
Fines are another penalty for both a DUI and a wet reckless, but again, these are lesser with a wet reckless conviction. While a DUI conviction can result in fines up to $1,000, the fines for a wet reckless are typically about half that, although the court will use its discretion when determining the fine.
Another big benefit to accepting a wet reckless plea is that there is no mandatory license suspension. When a person is convicted of a DUI, even on a misdemeanor charge, the DMV will suspend his or her license for up to three years, depending on if the accused has any prior DUIs.
Lastly, while both a DUI conviction and a wet reckless plea will require the individual to attend an alcohol education program, those who have accepted a wet reckless plea will only need to attend for about twelve weeks. Those with a DUI conviction will have to attend these programs for a minimum of three months.
It is worth noting, however, that if a person accepts a second wet reckless plea within ten years of his first, he may be ordered to attend a nine-month alcohol program. This is still much shorter than the 18-to-30-month programs a person may be required to attend if charged with a second DUI within ten years.
While there are many advantages to accepting a wet reckless plea, there are also some disadvantages. The most important is that if a person has already accepted a wet reckless plea and then is convicted of an actual DUI within the next ten years, the wet reckless plea will count as a prior DUI conviction. Because of this, the person will be convicted as a repeat offender and face much more serious consequences.
Another important factor to consider is that while a license suspension is not mandatory with a wet reckless plea, it can still happen. Even with a wet reckless, the DMV will suspend the license of the accused if his blood alcohol level was over 0.08%, or if he loses his DMV administrative per se hearing.
Even when the DMV has not suspended the license of someone who accepted a wet reckless plea, his or her car insurance rates may still increase. Insurance companies typically do not differentiate between a wet reckless plea and a DUI, so the increase may be substantial.
Deciding whether or not to accept a wet reckless plea is not a decision that should be made without the help of a San Diego criminal defense lawyer. These pleas are only offered when the prosecution thinks its case is not strong enough to win a DUI conviction. An attorney can examine your case and let you know if the charges stand a good chance of being dismissed, or if a wet reckless plea will be beneficial to you.
If you have been charged with DUI in North County, call jD LAW today at (760) 630-2000. Lead attorney James N. Dicks will review your case, advise you on the best course of action, and fight for your rights every step of the way. Do not take on the arduous task of handling your defense alone. Call the team that can help.
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